Only in the world of Adam Sandler could an animated message of inter-faith holiday appreciation be mixed in with a sextet of defecating deer, a woman with three breasts and songs about hatred and drinking.
However, the songs are hilarious (did you ever think you’d hear an Adam Sandler-Alison Krauss duet?), and the film’s earnestness and weirdness work together to create an oddly entertaining film that is just as uplifting as it is disgusting.
Sandler provides the voice for the film’s three main characters: Davey Stone, a bitter, drunk Jewish guy who must perform community service after he’s nabbed by the cops; Whitey Duvall, the diminutive, elderly youth basketball referee who is in charge of Davey’s service; and Eleanore, Whitey’s paranoid fraternal twin.
The animation is pretty atrocious and the film’s opening moments seem to spell unmitigated disaster. But the movie quickly finds a spark in its silly songs (with such lyrics as “I hate love, I hate you, I hate me” and “He used to whisper in my ear / And then I started drinking beer”) and the random, occasionally raunchy humor that made Sandler’s earlier comedies work.
And although the way Whitey and Davey ultimately appreciate each other is pure formula filmmaking, it is sweet without being annoyingly sappy.
It’s not a crossover movie, and certainly not a family one (it more than earns its PG-13 rating), but for Sandler fans disappointed by Little Nicky and Big Daddy, it’s a return to his old form.